The sad case of Matthew, 21, whose alcohol dependency killed him… days after he missed out on emergency detox
Matthew Copestick died in January 2019
A man died from complications caused by alcohol dependency just days after ‘poor communication’ meant he missed out on an emergency detox.
Matthew Copestick, who had a history of drug and alcohol misuse, collapsed in the shower at his home in Rochdale on January 8, 2019.
Just four days earlier, on January 4, he was taken to A&E at Fairfield General Hospital after falling unwell, an inquest heard.
A triage nurse believed the 21-year-old needed treatment for alcohol detoxification at specialist treatment centre the Chapman Barker unit.
Rochdale Coroner’s Court heard Matthew, who had autism, was discharged as medically fit instead.
“Due to poor communication between staff and a lack of understanding by the alcohol liaison nurse as to the requirements for an emergency inpatient admission to the Chapman Barker unit Matthew was not admitted for an inpatient alcohol detoxification,” senior coroner Joanne Kearsley ruled.
Matthew was left distressed by the news he wouldn’t be admitted to the Chapman Barker Unit – his father described him having a “meltdown” before he left hospital.
Matthew’s medical cause of death was recorded as 1.a. sudden and unexpected death in alcohol dependency.
2. Alcoholic fatty liver.
A post-mortem found that Matt’s liver was significantly enlarged.
Toxicology tests showed that at the time of his death Matt was not intoxicated and there was a very low level of alcohol in his system.
According to the record of inquest, Matthew had a history of drug and alcohol misuse.
At the time of his death he was being cared for by various services.
His alcohol dependency was ‘exacerbated by his Asperger’s’, according to the record of inquest.
In February 2018 he had been an inpatient for a drug detoxification.
He continued to use drugs, including Spice, for a period of time until he stopped in or around July 2018.
He remained under the local drug and alcohol service Renaissance.
Although he stopped using drugs, his alcohol consumption increased during the summer of 2018 – and he would have to 14-15 cans a day and whiskey.
In September 2018, an urgent referral was made to Turning Point, which provides health and social care services in the town.
Senior Coroner Joanne Kearsley ruled that this referral should have been made in April 2018 ‘given that Matthew was using drugs and alcohol after February 2018’.
Turning Point did not attend key multi agency meetings to discuss Matthew’s alcohol management and treatment plans until December 13.
Matthew asked to have a detox at home, but he was not suitable for this as he was suffering increased seizures.